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Colorado Releases 2007 Harvest Statistics

March 19, 2008.

From the Colorado Division of Wildlife:

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) has compiled and released the 2007 big game harvest statistics.

Elk

During the 2007 big game seasons 227,262 hunters killed 49,012 for a 22 percent success rate. There was a significant decrease in the number of elk harvested in 2007. Hunters killed nearly 8,000 fewer elk than in 2006 and for the first time since 2001, elk harvest dropped below 50,000.

The reduced harvest is likely due to a combination of factors, said Bruce Watkins, terrestrial analyst for the DOW. Harvest during the first and second rifle seasons was consistent with previous years. However, conditions during third and fourth rifle seasons were very mild and harvest success dropped considerably especially for cow elk. These seasons rely much more upon weather to make elk accessible and they were unusually warm and dry in 2007.

Another factor that may have decreased the harvest is the state's elk population numbers. After years of providing additional hunter opportunity to get the statewide elk population at objective, there may be fewer elk in certain areas of the state which boosted harvest rates in years past. The DOW dropped the number of 2007 limited elk licenses by 5,000. This management change was based upon elk numbers approaching objective in some of these traditionally high harvest areas.

There were also 10,000 fewer elk hunters in the field during the 2007 seasons. Some of the decrease was due to fewer limited licenses being available, but weather, economic conditions and other variables also likely affected license sales.

Deer

Deer hunters in Colorado harvested the highest number of deer since 1997 with 98,283 hunters killing 45,026 deer for a 46 percent success rate in 2007. Deer license numbers were the highest since 1999.

Colorado's renowned reputation for deer hunting continued to be supported by the harvest statistics in 2007. Deer hunter success rates have remained high at 45 to 46 percent since 2004. During the last 4 years, annual deer harvest has exceeded harvest in 1998 when unlimited deer licenses were still available in most units.

Pronghorn

Pronghorn harvest and success remained high in 2007 indicating that unusually harsh winter conditions on the Eastern Plains the previous winter did not have a major impact on pronghorn populations. In 2007, 12,647 pronghorn hunters harvested 8,492 pronghorn for a 67 percent success rate. The 2007 pronghorn harvest was the highest since 1997.

The DOW is currently compiling herd composition data and estimating post-hunt population numbers. These estimates will be presented along with proposed licenses numbers for the 2008 big game seasons to the Colorado Wildlife Commission in May.

The deadline for 2008 big game license applications is April 1.

For additional information and big game harvest statistics please visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/Statistics/.  

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